Lack of Agency

Charlie’s been visiting here in Suffolk for a few days.

I wish I’d had a pen and written down. Irrelevant now except to recall the desire to capture his words, so keen and often poignant.

‘Don’t be so hard on yourself’, I remind him as he chastises himself again.

I sleep all the time. I am so hopeless. I have none of the skills of MJ, he says as she gets out a syringe and feeds an ill chicken rice water, having noticed she was ill with her comb wilting.

We ran this morning. As we turned a bend he began to talk faster jamming on his life and lack of it, and I said

Enough now I said, I want to look where I am, and see the cow parsley, the green, the soft barley fuz in field.
OK he said, what was it you said. Everything is transient, i’ll meditate on that.

‘It’s been the worst 6 months of my life. At least in hospital you have to get up, and not go back to bed as the bed is uncomfortable and there are people around and meals served to break the day. Back here, there is nothing, no structure, no need to get up.

It seems he’s been hibernating, getting cabin fever, fearful of going out.

In social science, agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. By contrast, structure is those factors of influence (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, ability, customs, etc.) that determine or limit an agent and his or her decisions.


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